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and not in the best way.  Some of you may remember offensive tackle Kwame Harris from his five years with the 49ers, and a brief stint later with the Raiders.  Harris has been an inactive free agent since 2009, but he's reappeared in the news due to a lawsuit - from a former male partner - alleging domestic violence that carries felony charges, among other things.  Here's the story (with pdf of the complaint), which...  defies summary.  It's almost farcical - soy sauce? underwear? - until the part about the victim requiring a metal plate in his head.  Harris is claiming self-defense:

The punches from Harris broke bones around Geier's eye socket and led a metal plate being installed in his face to repair the physical damage from the beating, his suit says. [Harris' lawyer] Cintean said Geier struck first, but because his injuries were worse, prosecutors elected to charge Harris in connection with the violence.
Suffice to say that Harris' lawyers have confirmed the two had been in a relationship, so that part, at least, is not just an allegation at this point.  ('tho as Deadspin pointed out, a few people knew about Harris' dating history years ago.)

Between this, the Manti Te'o saga, and the Lance Armstrong confession, January 2013 has been quite a month for sports news.

Ugh.

Nothing to add.

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Comment Preferences

  •  This Is Something I Don't Understand (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pico, slothlax, luckylizard, Samer

    I believe if you take all the major professional sports worldwide there is only one openly gay man. This guy, Gareth Thomas who is a rubby player.

    Now I am a straight guy. Played sports at pretty high levels my entire life. I just don't understand the culture where none of these people can express their sexuality.

    When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

    by webranding on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 05:24:30 PM PST

    •  Actually, Thomas retired in 2011. (8+ / 0-)

      There are one or two others, depending on what you consider major professional sports.  Anton Hysén is a professional soccer player out of Sweden, but like Thomas you won't see him too often in the international circuit.    Boxing has Orlando Cruz, 4th in the world in his weight division (but maybe higher after his last victory... Not sure how/when the rankings are calculated.  Anyway.)

      But you're right overall: very, very few.  

      Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

      by pico on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 05:43:04 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Probably hard to come out when you're surrounded (7+ / 0-)

      by extremely religious Jesus freaks. Football and baseball especially. Everything out of a players' mouth is god this and Jesus that. Any gay players are probably scared of coming out due to fear of backlash and shunning from their teammates.

      I think hockey will give us the first openly gay, active athlete in professional sports. The Canadian and European influences, and the fact that hockey players don't seem to be overly religious will create a more opening environment for any closeted players. Plus, the NHL has already made great strides, including the You Can Play project, and the Stanley Cup being in Chicago's Gay Pride parade a couple years ago (and believe me, as a Blues fan, it kills me to say the Blackhawks did something good). I think we're a long ways off from seeing the Commissioner's Trophy or Lombardi Trophy in a Gay Pride parade.

      "How come when it’s us, it’s an abortion, and when it’s a chicken, it’s an omelette?" - George Carlin

      by yg17 on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 06:24:52 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I saw a survey of athletes' political preferences (0+ / 0-)

        The NHL was by far the most liberal league on social issues.  Especially gay marriage, it was 9-1.  Of course the sample size was pretty small, 62 total from the four leagues, so around 15 or so out of hundreds in each league.

        There is truth on all sides. The question is how much.

        by slothlax on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 10:22:33 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Professional Bowler Scott Norton... (7+ / 0-)

      recently kissed his husband on live TV.  And the times they are a-changin'.

  •  Wade Davis, former NFL player, (16+ / 0-)

    is already out of the closet, and he says he knows about other, still active gay players whose teammate know they're gay.  According to Davis, a gay player doesn't make that much difference to straight teammates.

    The domestic violence in this story is very ugly, though.

    -5.13,-5.64; If you gave [Jerry Falwell] an enema, you could bury him in a matchbox. -- Christopher Hitchens

    by gizmo59 on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 05:27:13 PM PST

    •  I've Thought About This A Lot Cause It Makes (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gizmo59, slothlax

      no sense to me. Now maybe I come from a "strange" time or place, but in high school and college in the 70s and 80s folks just walked around in locker rooms totally nude.

      Heck in college we didn't have individual shower stalls, we just all showered in one large room. If you wanted to take a shower you were standing next to a nude dude.

      Now that has changed. I go to the gym folks are just not walking around nude.

      But the only thing I can think of is that people don't want to think a gay dude is looking at their penis. It is the only reason that can make sense to me we have these attitudes.

      When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

      by webranding on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 05:33:12 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well (8+ / 0-)

        there were not cell phone cameras back then either.

        Self-described political "centrists" believe the best policy is halfway between right and wrong. — @RBReich via web

        by BentLiberal on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 05:34:30 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I think it's more than cell phones. (4+ / 0-)

        Younger men appear to be genuinely uncomfortable being nude among other men.  When I was in junior high school, after gym class, we were forced to take showers, and, yes, it was terrifying, but we all managed to get over it (even those of us who were gay).  In addition to any discomfort straight men may feel being nude when there might be a gay man around, but I think the Jerry Sandusky affair is casting a long shadow.  A significant number of people have decided that all nudity is sexual, and therefore it is unacceptable under any circumstance around other people.

        -5.13,-5.64; If you gave [Jerry Falwell] an enema, you could bury him in a matchbox. -- Christopher Hitchens

        by gizmo59 on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 05:52:20 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Same For Me In Gym (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          gizmo59, SadieSue

          heck I recall, around 1985, I wrestled. We'd sit totally nude, almost on each others lap in the sauna to lose weight. Nobody thought anything about it. Nobody cared. It was just the way it was.

          I bet that doesn't happen today ....

          When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

          by webranding on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 06:00:39 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I can speak to this, I think. (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            slothlax, Bush Bites, gizmo59, SadieSue

            I grew up right in the 'in between' time when gays were really starting to come out of the closet, and before they were really becoming accepted (particularly, late 80s early 90s during the height of the AIDS epidemic and activism that drove so much of the cultural awareness of homosexuality).

            What I think changed: the fear of homosexuality led to an aggressive backlash that cemented and in some ways redefined the meaning of masculinity. Fear, I think, drove not just those who were shy about showing their nudity to other males, but was reinforced by other aggressive (fearful of homosexual) males. So both the bullies and the bullied became afraid that their nudity would, in one case, expose them sexually and in the other case, make them vulnerable to bullying... which situation was self-fulfilling.

            •  Now that you mention it...... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              gizmo59

              I remember some of the things the jocks did to some of the kids in gym class: Lock kids in lockers and piss on them, steal their clothes, put stuff in their underwear, etc.

              Kind of glad they don't make kids go through that anymore.

              "Michael Moore, who was filming a movie about corporate welfare called 'Capitalism: A Love Story,' sought and received incentives."

              by Bush Bites on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 06:29:23 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  my son... (7+ / 0-)

          Is a high school athlete and has never showered at school or changed there unless he absolutely has to.  

          We belong to a gym and he'll only change in a bathroom stall and never showers until he gets home.

          The culture is certainly different.

          Progressive LIBERAL-right, yet "disloyal" since January 20, 2001

          by howie14 on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 06:03:34 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Sandusky... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          gizmo59

          I would be horrified if someone thought I was acting inappropriately, while nude, around kids who were also getting dressed.

          I try to find a nice secluded area in the locker room, but if that is not possible I find an area where only other adults are around. If you're a man over 30, you don't want to give anyone any reason to think you might be that way.

          You can do whatever you want to us, but we're not going to sit here and listen to you badmouth the United States of America.

          by Eric Stratton on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 07:17:11 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  they did away with that in the 80s (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          gizmo59

          no showers.

          except during swimming unit, but no one got nude.

          [insert pithy sig line here]

          by terrypinder on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 04:33:14 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  I think pedophile coach and gym teacher scandals.. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gizmo59, SadieSue

        ....might have something to do with it.

        "Michael Moore, who was filming a movie about corporate welfare called 'Capitalism: A Love Story,' sought and received incentives."

        by Bush Bites on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 06:08:04 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  My high school had just one big shower room (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gizmo59, jayden, SadieSue

        It was basically a community shower room with no stalls, and everyone just got naked and took a shower.  Occasionally some people would make a joke about whether someone was "well endowed" (or lack thereof), but for the most part no one made a big deal about it.  The only thing people worried about was whether somebody would snap them with a towel.

        Of course these days no one wants someone photographing their junk and posting it online, but I noticed as far back as the mid-1990's that some people were uncomfortable taking a shower or even taking off their clothes in semi-public places.  I remember asking my nephew at the time what was the big deal, and he was rather repulsed at the idea of showering at school.

        •  Lucky me, then (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Hey338Too

          as a female, we had "cell" showers -- 4x4 concrete block spaces with a spigot and a plastic curtain to close the entry off. They ran about 6' high around the perimeter of the 'shower room'. Couple times, I had after-school things to attend (NHS banquet) so I stayed after school, showered & dressed there, because the 27-mile 18-stop bus-ride would've meant ... I would either be late getting back, or have no shower.

          Air Force BMTS ... whole 'nother story.
          Run 42 kids thru after-PT showers, one big cinder-block-room with 12 spigots down 3 sides, in <12 minutes, dressed & down 3 flights of concrete stairs  (and they're girls, so they gotta get the hair back up off the ears, eyebrows & collars) before line-up, march-away to chow (don't be late or you don't eat, and it's a long damn time until lunch).

           Air Force dorms, one shower for every 2 dorm rooms, standard 3x3x6 metal stall.  College ... same thing, actually, except when I went swimming at the rec center, & that was set up like my high school -- . I don't think (this was the '70s and very early 80s) anybody ever thought a camera in the shower room would've been anything but toast.

          LBJ, Lady Bird, Anne Richards, Barbara Jordan, Sully Sullenberger, Ike, Drew Brees, Molly Ivins --Texas is no Bush league! -7.50,-5.59

          by BlackSheep1 on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 07:04:52 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Maybe this will be a catalyst (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gizmo59

      If there's a "gay rage" backlash, maybe someone comes out in solidarity, there's a pin hole in the dam, and soon enough...

      There is truth on all sides. The question is how much.

      by slothlax on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 06:21:52 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  They're waiting for (0+ / 0-)

        the gay Jackie Robinson, some high-profile gay athlete who is so exemplary, he is above reproach.  It can't just be a player who is merely consistent and competent.  That may take a while.

        -5.13,-5.64; If you gave [Jerry Falwell] an enema, you could bury him in a matchbox. -- Christopher Hitchens

        by gizmo59 on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 06:38:39 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Its different though (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          gizmo59, SadieSue

          Yes, it has to be someone good, but I think it doesn't have to be a superstar.  Robinson is a tough comparison, because there's no hiding the fact that you're black.  He had to be groomed and everyone knew exactly what was going on from the beginning.

          If the Wade Davis' assessment is accurate, it seems to me like most players would be uncomfortable at worse.  So someone who is just a solid starter would be enough, someone the fans would not want be ready to ditch, IMHO

          There is truth on all sides. The question is how much.

          by slothlax on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 06:47:22 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Plus (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          gizmo59

          I would say gay rights now are light years ahead of black rights when Robinson joined the league.  In that case, baseball was the breaking ground for integration across society, pretty heavy stuff for a country forged in racism.  Coming out in a professional sport will be more like spiking the football, so to speak.

          There is truth on all sides. The question is how much.

          by slothlax on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 07:25:48 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Yes, an inglorious out-of-the-closet story (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pico, blueoasis, BlackSheep1

    ... to say the least

    and not in the best way.

    Self-described political "centrists" believe the best policy is halfway between right and wrong. — @RBReich via web

    by BentLiberal on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 05:35:57 PM PST

  •  I need some Chris Kluwe (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pico, jayden, SadieSue, sfbob, Samer

    to wash out the sucktasticness of this story.

    We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another. -- Jonathan Swift

    by raptavio on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 05:50:47 PM PST

  •  NFL culture has bee changing, I think (8+ / 0-)

    Maybe not fast enough that we recognize the evolution immediately, but it's definitely changed since I started avidly following it.

    No, this is not the best way to come out (I had actually just finished reading this over at Deadspin), but with athletes like Ayanbadejo  and Chris Kluwe becoming something of folk heroes for their outspokenness on this topic, to the writers at PFT criticizing the NFL for its lack of minority coaches, I can't help but see a major change underfoot.

    I also note this change in attitude when gf and I go to a sports bar to watch a game. Men don't treat us like idiots when it comes to a game, they talk to us like they would another man. They don't assume we're clueless about sport. I've had many great conversations with guys about NFL teams, never once being condescended to. That may seem like chump change, but I do think there is a huge shift happening in NFL culture.

    That's a good thing. Progress is always a good thing.

    P.S. I am not a crackpot.

    by BoiseBlue on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 05:53:09 PM PST

    •  Notice no one responded to Ayanbadejo or Kluwe (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pico, jayden, SadieSue

      They threw down the gauntlet and not a single player that I can think of stepped up to the challenge.

      There is truth on all sides. The question is how much.

      by slothlax on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 06:27:01 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, almost no one: (8+ / 0-)

        One of Ayanbadejo's own teammates, Matt Birk, has been a vocal opponent of marriage equality, and wrote an editorial in response to them.  True to form, Ayanbadejo was a class act in his response.

        Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

        by pico on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 06:36:35 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thanks (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          pico

          Yeah, I figured someone had come out in opposition and I just hadn't heard about it.  Hence my wording.  Birk may be conservative on the sex stuff, but he works with kids and literacy too, so that's fine by me.  But those two players haven't seen any repercussions yet it seems.  The offseason will be a test for them.

          But I think the day is pretty close, it might even be this offseason.  With the political winds going the way they are it is becoming less and less difficult.

          There is truth on all sides. The question is how much.

          by slothlax on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 06:57:59 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  have to be a few gay baseball players (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pico, SadieSue, greengemini

    Probably 500 major league baseball players, statistically at least a few are gay. American sports teams are not comfortable with gay players yet but it would be nice to see someone come out and see what happens.

    •  Definitely. (6+ / 0-)

      Gay people are everywhere.

      Here's the first and so far only "out" baseball player.

      Glenn Lawrence Burke (November 16, 1952 – May 30, 1995) was a Major League Baseball player for the Los Angeles Dodgers and Oakland Athletics from 1976 to 1979.

      Burke was the first and only Major League Baseball player known to have been out to his teammates and team owners during his professional career. He was the first to publicly acknowledge his homosexuality.[1] He died from AIDS-related causes in 1995.[2][3]

      "They can't ever say now that a gay man can't play in the majors, because I'm a gay man and I made it." – Glenn Burke[4][5]

      "Michael Moore, who was filming a movie about corporate welfare called 'Capitalism: A Love Story,' sought and received incentives."

      by Bush Bites on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 06:16:03 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Lombardi on gay players. (15+ / 0-)
    Lombardi was aware of tight end Jerry Smith's homosexuality, and upon arriving in Washington, told Smith in confidence that it would never be an issue as long as he was coaching the Redskins. Smith flourished, becoming an integral part of Lombardi's offense, and was voted a First Team All-Pro for the first and only time in his career, which was also Lombardi's only season as Redskin head coach.[117] Lombardi invited other gay players to training camp, and Lombardi would privately hope they would prove they could earn a spot on the team.[118] At the Washington Redskins training camp in 1969, Ray McDonald was a gay player, with sub-par skills,[119] who was trying to make the Redskin roster again[citation needed], but this time with Lombardi as the Redskins' new head coach. Lombardi told running back coach, George Dickson,[120] 'I want you to get on McDonald and work on him and work on him - and if I hear one of you people make reference to his manhood, you'll be out of here before your ass hits the ground.'[121]

    "Michael Moore, who was filming a movie about corporate welfare called 'Capitalism: A Love Story,' sought and received incentives."

    by Bush Bites on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 05:56:14 PM PST

  •  Well, if straights can have dysfunctional (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pico, slothlax

    relationships, why not gays? :)

    If he was going to be the first open gay or whatever in the history of the NFL, I'd rather he'd come out in a dignified fashion.

    This is just humiliating.

    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 06:09:56 PM PST

    •  Hasn't played for a couple years, but... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      karmsy, slothlax, Nowhere Man

      yeah, this is ugly.   Unfortunately, with so few former athletes out, there's added pressure on each of them to be superhumanly good people, and... Frankly, we're all people.  

      I think we're not too far away from open, currently-active athletes in the major sports.  As more straight allies are becoming vocal about it, it's no doubt becoming easier.  Still, it's tough to be that first person, and have every play, and ever statistic scrutinized through the lens of your sexuality.  Every time you miss the ball, it'll be because you're a gay athlete.  Screwy, but this is what people mean when they say the major sports need their LGBT Jackie Robinsons.

      I can imagine it only got harder for Harris as his career didn't take off the way he (and everyone else) expected.  He started as a celebrated college player and strong draft pick, but his professional career wasn't the strongest.

      Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

      by pico on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 06:15:59 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The same people will use this for rhetorical (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bush Bites, SadieSue, jck

    gay bashing even though the same type of out-of-control behaviors happen regardless of orientation.

    I'm sure the same percentages generally apply to sports as any other profession or endeavor, but perhaps a few less.

    I once met online in a different sort of forum a well known CW entertainer, and I had more than sufficient validation to know the person was real, who revealed a great deal about the reality of more than a few who were BLG, though they hid it quite well from the public since it was anathema to their career.  That was five years ago, after his own divorce, and he choose the closet for professional protection.  We lost touch after a couple of years, but things are changing even there.  I doubt that he will ever feel secure to come out.

    I just though of this incidence because it's probably going to be one of the most difficult areas for the truth to come out because of the large number of fundamentalist fans and the tradition of mixing the secular with religious, even more so than sports.

    With this incident with Harris I have to assume that there was more involved than the details given though there's no excuse for the behavior and he is responsible for his actions.

    More: Some men think the Earth is round, others think it flat; it is a matter capable of question. But if it is flat, will the King's command make it round? And if it is round, will the King's command flatten it?

    by blueoasis on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 06:34:22 PM PST

  •  of course he could say he is not gay that too (0+ / 0-)

    many hits to the head affected his mental stability and this is out of character for him.

    •  For what it's worth (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jayden, a gilas girl, Samer

      I avoided "gay" in the diary because I have no idea how he self-identifies or what his deal is.  But they were in a relationship.

      Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

      by pico on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 07:02:07 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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